“I wrote… Everybody Knows to close that gap [between private life & public life] and the only way to close it is by speaking of it humourously, speaking of it as a joke, and saying the things that we all know” Leonard Cohen

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Without the music and nonsense rhymes, Everybody Knows would be pretty hard to take – the funeral quality of the message. It also pushes things very, very far just to get a laugh and that makes it amusing. It gives a jingle effect that as I say modifies and mitigates the heaviness of the vision. I think that everybody does know these things…These ideas were started a long time ago in my work, but the romantic world is just as Lorca said in that poem Take This Waltz. These romantic images that he’s using…he knows they’re rotten, he know they’re old, he knows they’re finished. That’s why it’s such a modern poem… There seems to be some appetite to say those words: ‘Everybody knows it’s coming apart.’ Maybe I’m wrong, maybe it’s just because I’m middle-aged and maybe nothing’s coming apart but, to me, those images, those romantic expectations, those religious expectations, the political vocabulary, are obsolete. I’ve never felt so much difference between the private life and the public life. There doesn’t seem to be a public life and there’s nobody speaking in a way that seems to address me… I don’t know why. Maybe I’m just getting old, maybe not, maybe I’m right, so I wrote a song like Everybody Knows to close that gap and the only way to close it is by speaking of it humourously, speaking of it as a joke, and saying the things that we all know.

 

Leonard Cohen

 

From I’m Your Man by Alberto Manzano (Rockdelux: May 1988)

Best Videos Of 2012 Leonard Cohen Tour: Everybody Knows – Paris

Leonard Cohen – Everybody Knows
Paris: Sept 30, 2012
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Best 2012 Leonard Cohen Videos: This is a selection from the Best Of 2012 Leonard Cohen Tour Video Setlist, which comprises the best available video of each of the songs performed during the 2012 Leonard Cohen World Tour.

I am republishing selected posts from my former Leonard Cohen site, Cohencentric, here on AllanShowalter.com (these posts can be found at Leonard Cohen). This entry was originally posted May 17, 2018.

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